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 Post subject: IZ 218
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:55 pm 
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Location: London
Mony congratulations to Interzone for this special isue dedicated to Chris Beckett. The three strories are all very good, but Greenland is possibly one of te best I have read in a long time in any fiction magazine, and I very much hope that it wins prizes and is anthologized. It deals not only with the effects of climate change (just a setting really) but also with the social dynamics of immigration, and (making an interesting connection) with the limits of humanitarianism when 'copies' of people are involved. Similar stories about clones have been writtten, but this was exceptionally powerful in all respects.

I agree that Poppyfields could have almost been mainstream, but I do not see the problem with that - always adhering to rigid conventions would empoverish the genre.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:10 am 
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Thanks for that Joan. It's good to hear from you again.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Some good news here for Chris Beckett and Andrew Hook of Elastic press in that the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced and comprises
Quote:
Chris Beckett..................The Turing Test...........................................Elastic Press

Gerard Donovan..............Country of the Grand..................................Faber

Anne Enright...................Yesterday’s Weather....................................Random House

Shena Mackay.................The Atmospheric Railway............................Random House

Ali Smith..........................The First Person and Other Stories.............Hamish Hamilton

James Walton, Chair of the judges, commented:
‘I'm delighted to be judging the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, especially at a time when short stories are making such a comeback - as you can see from all the distinguished writers on the shortlist.’

Ailsa Cox, Reader in Creative Writing and English at Edge Hill University, commented:
‘We're thrilled by the range and quality of the shortlist. Some of these names are already familiar from the Booker and the Orange Prize, while others are newer discoveries. Not many prizes put a science fiction author from a small press alongside the literary heavyweights! I'm especially pleased that there's so much humour in the writing - another great year for the prize.’

The winning author will be presented with the £5,000 prize at the Bluecoat, Liverpool on 4 July.

The second prize winner and the readers’ prize will also receive £1,000 each. The readers’ prize is judged primarily by Get into Reading, an organisation that gives people who might not normally think of joining a reading group a chance to enjoy stories and poems together.

This year’s judges are James Walton, journalist and chair of BBC Radio 4’s The Write Stuff; Claire Keegan, last year’s winner of the Prize and Mark Flinn, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Edge Hill University.

The annual prize, which was launched by Edge Hill University three years ago, is the only competition in the UK for the best short story collection by a single author. The prize is co-sponsored by Blackwell bookshop.


Both publisher and author are in exalted company so well done Chis and Andrew; and IZ as most of the stories first appeared there.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:05 pm 
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I've read most of the Shena Mackay collection. I found it a bit patchy, though the better stories (including the title one) were excellent.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:47 am 
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Well as we know from a higher thread Chris won. His prizes (he won two) included The reader prize which was based on one of The Turing Test's collection stories that originally appeared in Asimov’s; ‘We could be Sisters’ from Oct/Nov 2004.

The Reader prize is given by theGet Into Reading charity. Its member panel read aloud one story from each Edge Hill shortlisted collection with no knowledge of author or source and then vote for their favourite. 16661


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:47 pm 
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If the story (We Could Be Sisters) is the one I think it is, it has very few of the traditional SF trappings, no spaceships or tech, just two women from parallel worlds encountering one another, after one has slipped over.

So I can imagine that people who think that SF is all rockets and aliens would --particularly given Chris B's very elegant style-- never think of it as genre at all.

Didn't one of the judges admit that they never thought of themselves as SF fans before?

That must have been a shock for them, finding that a genre writer's sneaked off with all the silverware....

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:34 pm 
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For some reason I'd never got round to reading this issue, until prompted by the news of Chris Beckett's win. A good issue all round, with my personal favourite being Beckett's Greenland.

Interestingly, at one point in Greenland I thought I was going to be disappointed by it. This was due to the probably wrong assumption that the shift in narrator was supposed to be a surprise, and the definitely wrong assumption that immediately spotting it would spoil the story. In fact, it's testament to the strength and subtlety of the story that the surprise factor doesn't actually matter, because the weight of the story is in the emotional working out of the situation rather than the shock of its discovery. In the end I felt pleasantly wrong-footed, which is always a good thing.

I have some sympathy with the argument further up the thread that Poppyfields is not essentially SF. I do think the exact same story could be told without SF tropes, without sacrificing anything. On the other hand, taken for what it is, it's an engaging enough story, with the relationships nicely drawn and entirely plausible characters/motivations.

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